CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 3079, to take certain Federal land located in Tuolumne County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, and for other purposes, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 3079 was introduced on July 15, 2015 by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent on February 3, 2016.
H.R. 3079 would transfer two 40 acre parcels of U.S. Forest Service managed land located within the boundaries of the Stanislaus National Forest in California, to be held in trust for the benefit of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians. Gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act will not be permitted on this land.
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and Tuolumne Rancheria is a small California tribe located in east-central California, in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Tuolumne County. According to the Tribe, there are currently around 400 members, with about half of its tribal members residing on the Rancheria.
Today the tribal land consists of over 1,700 acres of fee and trust land. As part of the 1,700 acres, the Tribe owns in fee simple the `Murphy Ranch’. The Ranch was purchased by the Tribe to protect and preserve its traditional ancestral lands, and to ensure that the environment and wildlife of the area is protected. In 2013, the Tribe designated the Ranch as a permanent conservation area, and the Tribe is currently in the process of requesting that the Ranch be taken into federal trust and incorporated into the Reservation.
To the north of the Ranch is another private ranch, owned by the Edward Ingalls Trust. Situated between both ranches are two 40-acre landlocked Forest Service parcels. These two parcels are contiguous to the Ranch and the Ingalls Trust Ranch. Additionally, the two 40 acre parcels are a small part of two larger grazing permits. Many grazing permits cover private land due to checkerboard ownership.
If the Tribe successfully acquires the two parcels the land will be incorporated into the Ranch and designated as part of the 2013 permanent conservation area. The parcels will be inventoried by the Tribe for cultural and natural resources and native wildlife habitat. According to the tribe, laid out in the `Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria Proposal for Federal Land Transfer’ published on Aug. 25, 2015, once the findings of the inventory are complete, the Tribe will determine which conservation activities are appropriate for the two parcels.
H.R. 3079 would take these parcels into trust for the Tribe, and prohibit gaming activities on the land.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 3079 would have no significant effect on the federal budget.
For questions or further information please contact Robert Goad with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1831.